Instant Messengers and Paragraphs

Finding the correct length for an instant message is not always easy.  It all depends on how much you have to say.  The problem is when you have a lot to say you may be tempted to blurt.  The IM version of blurting is a long paragraph of speech.  So how do you curb a blurt?

  1. Delete redundancies
  2. Shorten sentences where possible
  3. Break it up into multiple sends

That should help.

One Liners: IM Etiquette

Instant messenging can be a great way to open up a dialogue. Some people however, treat it like their personal PA system.

Periodically they take off their away message (or sign in) and send out a few brief messages like these:

“Mark, if you want to hang out tonight call me.”

“Send me your status report ASAP.”

Then they are away again. If you are this person think twice, and maybe get a Twitter account.

When Not to Video Chat

Video chat can be a great tool for communications.  There are also a few times when it can be a bad idea.  Here are some of those times.

  • When you are sick, or have not properly groomed.
  • When you are upset.  Your face could end up betraying more then you meant to say.
  • When your chat partner has not agreed to video chat.

Always use good judgment before you click on video chat.

How to Look Good on Your Video IM

Using a video chat is a lot like going on TV.  If you want to look good you may have to take a few extra steps:

  1. Avoid glossy things.  This includes high gloss lipstick, glittery items and polarized sunglasses.
  2. Balance the proportions on the top half of your body.  A wide shouldered jacket may mask big hips, but no one will see them on the screen.
  3. Smile, it always helps!

IM Annoyance: Making it up as you go

The land of IM is where abbreviated typing now known erroneously as text speak, began.  A lot of the time, this is a great time saver, or finger saver as the case may be.

A problem arises when people try to make it up as they go along.  Who knows what WAFH means?

  • Wearing a funny hat
  • Waiting around for Harry
  • Working for a Fu*** hick

The potential is endless.  Word to the wise, don’t make up your own, it’s too unclear.

Secure IM’s: Not in the Mainstream

We tend to take our privacy online for granted.  We assume that when we enter into a private chat on AIM (or any public IM service) that the information will stay where we it.  That can be a false assumption.  There are a few ways the conversation can become public:

  • A loose lipped friend shares it either by copy and paste or by email.
  • Keylogging software is on one of the systems being used to chat.
  • The IM’s server is breached.

As you may have noticed these are in order from most to least likely.  No matter which one you fall prey to, the solution is still the same.

Don’t put it in writing unless it is ok for public consumption.

Business IM’s and Friend List Population

Adding friends to your business instant messenger is a little different then it is with your personal messenger.  When you are dealing with your business messenger there are some questions you should ask yourself before you add on a new contact.

  • Is my relationship with this person professional?
  • Will we talk about business issues or personal ones?
  • How likely am I to work directly with this person on a project in the future?

If you can not give the right reason for adding, then don’t.

Instant Messages and Instant Gratification

There is little doubt that we live in a culture of instant gratification.  We all want things, and we want them now.  Going to the video store is lengthy, but downloading on iTunes can take a fraction of that time (and, as a bonus, you can do something else during that download).  Instant messengers give us the same ability for communications.  The question is, do we benefit from it?

Sure, somethings are truly urgent and demand an immediate response.  (Will you marry me?, Did you run over my dog? And, Can you feel this drilling in your mouth?, all being amongst them.)

Other however require thought to give a proper answer.  Trying to fit them into an instant gratification model just won’t do.  What is needed here is temperance and good judgement.  Practice those traits when looking for a quick fix answer.

Downloading Instant Messengers: Beware Bad Sites

When you get your instant messenger from a 3rd party site, then you need to be sure that they have what you need.  You also have to be sure that you will not be getting any nasty surprises along with the new software.

If you want to keep your system safe always evaluate a download site before you click on the link.  Also, just to be on the safe side always use your virus scans when you install a new piece of software.  It is better to catch a problem early if you can.

IM’s Why Can’t You Hang Up on Just One Person?

A note to all instant messenger developers, here is a great idea for a new feature: individual status settings.

Think about the value here, of being online, and chatting, while certain key people think you are away. Possible scenarios include:

* Ditching your ex (who still wants closure after 6 months) without avoiding your friends.
* Staying away from your boss who wants you to come in on your daughters birthday.
* Not being barraged by a deluged of IM’s when you only want to talk to one person.

Food for thought developers.